Consider the Valley College football team.
It has 17 transfers from a Pierce team that was rated 11th in the final junior college poll in 1985. It also has several starters back from its own team, which went 8-2 and was ranked 18th in the state.
Sounds promising on paper. But not in the polls.
Despite its returning credentials, Valley is not rated among the top 20 teams in the J.C. Athletic Bureau’s preseason poll of junior college football coaches.
Valley Coach Chuck Ferrero couldn’t care less.
“That doesn’t bother me,” Ferrero said. “Those are just guesses. A lot of teams in that group are going to fall, I can tell you that.”
Others, including Valley, could rise in stature, but Ferrero won’t say that. Instead, his approach to his seventh season at the Van Nuys school is humble. Sort of.
“We have a chance to be a good football team,” Ferrero said. “But we have a lot of new players, particularly on defense, and they will have to mold together first.”
However . . .
“I want a championship season.”
Ferrero may get his wish. Between transfers from Pierce and four-year schools, the newcomers are proven talents.
Of the transfers from Pierce, which dropped its football program in June because it didn’t have a qualified coach to run the program, at least six will start. Josh Davis could be the seventh if he wins a four-man battle at quarterback.
Other transfers include defensive linemen Ivey Daughtrey (6-4, 280) from Cal Lutheran and Aaron White (6-2, 290) from Kentucky State.
Then there is Joe Zacharia, the former Canyon High star who was originally headed for Cal Lutheran. Tabbed too small to play in a Division I program out of high school, the former nose guard has switched to linebacker at Valley--with favorable results.
“Joe is doing very well,” Ferrero said. “He’s not as short as people think, either. He’s 6-0, 220 pounds--and he can play.
“Joe is what JC football a lot of times is all about. It’s either for guys who don’t project as Division I players or who are a little short. But if they show they can play at this level, they have an opportunity to be signed.”
Especially at Valley. Twenty-three players from last season’s team were signed by four-year schools.
“Junior college football in Southern California is the greatest feeder system around,” Ferrero said. “Our record is typical. If the kids get the grades, they sign.”
Zacharia will be counted on to step right in on a defensive unit that returns only one starter. Ferrero admits to being a bit concerned about the defense.
“Even though we have a lot of talent and size there, it takes time to mold chemistry,” Ferrero said. “It takes even more time when people come from different programs, because they may have been taught one way and now they have to learn a new system.”
The Monarchs should be strong on the offensive line. Ricky Rosales (6-3, 280), a first-team all-conference tackle at Pierce last season, joins returning starters Jonathan Newman (5-11, 226), a second-team all-conference center, and tight end Jeff Sampson (6-5, 218).